Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sketch / Art League

I had the privilege and the pleasure of attending Susan Abbott's excellent workshop Traveling with Your Sketchbook (hosted by the Art League in Alexandria) this past weekend. As usual, it was delightful and I was very happy to see Susan again. She's a lovely lady, a first class artist, and an outstanding teacher. (This is a highly unusual combination of attributes, in my experience. She is a gem!) Susan's website is here.

I missed the short Friday evening introduction session (my head had exploded after two full days of software training on Thursday and Friday) but I showed up bright and early for the day-long Saturday and Sunday sessions. Among other things, we did a number of standard drawing exercises (blind contour, contour, gesture), discussed the practicalities of sketching on-the-go and the nuances of supplies/materials, talked about color theory and practiced applying it to travel sketching, did some simple perspective drawing, and looked at (and talked about) slides of travel sketches by various artists.

My favorite portions of the class are, first, when we talk about page layout on Day Two. Susan has some excellent page layout examples and we discuss this at length. To me, skilled page layout (and how images relate to each other and to areas of lettering) is a key part of a well-done sketchbook.

My other favorite part is when we all come back from various sketching sessions and we all look at and talk about each other's work. Seeing everyone else's work is such a great treat for me. So much fun to see the different lenses that folks use to see both my and also their own worlds. Great stuff and most inspirational. It's actually very personal and revealing but, by virtue of being there in the workshop, everyone is eager to share their experiences.

And once again, it was a really good group of students and we had fun as well as learned a lotta stuff.

I enthusiastically recommend this class. Susan Abbott is a highly skilled teacher. She lives in Vermont and, sadly for us here, she is going to reduce her teaching trips to the DC area from twice a year to only once a year, to be in March. So sign up early for the March 2012 Traveling with Your Sketchbook class. You might see me there too.

(My sketches from this workshop class are here.)

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